View Full Version : Rebuilding a Clamshell iBook Battery
Apr 30, 2008, 10:42 AM
After reading some posts here and on other sites regarding the rebuilding of iBook batteries (and laptop batteries in general), I got the sense that rebuilding my Clamshell battery would be relatively painless. This impression was further supported by my investigation of an "ice" iBook battery (from a G3 700MHz model) that I happened to have...after opening it up to see what was inside, it looked like a straightforward enough task. I just purchased new LiIon cells...with solder tabs, even! (wanting to make this as effortless as possible)...only to be surprised and discouraged once I opened up my Clamshell battery pack. Everything is tied down/glued/silconed into place extremely well, with little to no access to the battery terminals. I am able to sneak a peak at the terminals, though, and was ever more disheartened at the sight of a welded/soldered strip of metal snaking its way around the cells, attaching itself to various terminals in the 8 pack to create the 14.4 V (4 in series, 2 groups in parallel). Bottom line: this does not look fun. Has anyone ever done LiIon cell replacement in the Clamshell configuration? Tell me I don't have to me a welding expert, please. I'm a mechanical engineer, so I'm not afraid of a bit of soldering, but this just doesn't seem like a project for even the brave of heart. Thoughts? Tips? I guess I'm looking for people's experiences and anecdotes. Post 'em if ya got 'em!
Applefan1997, hope I hear from you (you were the only post I found stating that you had actually done this before).
Apr 30, 2008, 08:54 PM
Heey! I don't have my battery anymore, but I still remember what it needed.
I didn't do any soldering, only a nail clipper and a knife or similar was needed.
It takes about 30 minutes at most. A soldering gun would make this easier and cleaner if you have it.
1. You'll need to open it first, and you'll see 8 3.2v cells. Remove the white supports on the middle. Make sure the both batteries (new/old) is COMPLETELY discharged.
2. Take your knife and wedge it between the silver strip and the battery terminal (do not touch another battery), and wiggle it and pry it off. If it wrinkles or looks ugly don't worry. If you have a solder gun, de-solder the 4 small points. When you remove the cell, mark a plus or minus on the plastic case to mark the orientation for the new cell. Repeat until all the cells are out.
3. Straighten the strips if they're messed up.
4. Place the new cell in it's place, and solder it if you can. If you cant, it wont fit at first but it'll squeeze in with the others. Repeat until all the cells are in.
5. If they don't contact the metal, put paper in the spaces and bend the metal if necessary. Remember do not short the cells!
6. You may need to clip off pieces of the plastic to fit it, especially if you went the "messy" route.
7. Press the whole case together, adjust if necessary.
8. Plug in the computer and boot. Reset the NVRAM and PRAM.
1. Upon hearing the chime, hold down cmd+option+o+f
2. At the prompt, type in reset-nvram
3. Press Return
4. Type reset-all
5. Press Return
For PRAM (per Apple):
1. If the computer is on, turn it off.
2. Disconnect the AC power adapter.
3. Remove the battery.
4. Press and release the reset button (shown below) located above the
5. Power button at the base of the display. Use a small, blunt instrument such as a paper clip to press the button.
6. Wait 5 seconds.
7. Reconnect the AC power adapter.
8. Put the battery back in the computer.
9. Press the Power button to restart the iBook computer.
May 1, 2008, 09:55 AM
Thanks, I'm glad to know you were able to rely on the cunning use of a knife! :) Great pictures. I'll let you know how I make out. I'm excited because I got some 2200mAh cells, which I think are higher capacity than the original cells in there (same voltage, though...that's the important thing to keep consistant). Hopefully I'll be able to get a multi-hour Clamshell battery out of this.
May 1, 2008, 09:36 PM
Cool! Let me know how it goes.
May 9, 2008, 02:34 PM
It's not going so well. I've managed to confuse myself...even though I was very careful to mark the polarities of the original batteries, it looks like the original design (from what I marked) has 4 batteries in parallel, then the 2 set of 4 in series, which is opposite to what I thought it should be. I was expecting 4 batteries in series so that the voltageas add up to 14.4...2 sets of 4 would then be in parallel to make the currents add. Did you ever take a reading of the + and - terminals as they went into the circuit board (via the orange cable)? Also, I'm finding that if I use my ohm meter to check for shorts, I'm getting ringing over individual battery terminals. This only happens sometimes, though. I have to admit, I've done a bunch of soldering in my life up to this point, and I'm feeling like I'm in the Twilight Zone. Do the conventional rules go out the window when dealing with LiIon batteries?
May 11, 2008, 10:40 AM
I never took a reading of the terminals, just stuck in the cells really. I guess lilon batteries are different?